Caryl Churchill's play 'A Number' was performed at The Nuffield Theatre

How would you feel if you discovered you're not really you? And that there may be a lot more of you than you ever imagined?

A Number, written by leading British playwright, Caryl Churchill, asks human questions of a complex scientific debate, not least the moral and human dilemmas when experimentation gets out of control. Churchill pushes the boundaries of scientific possibility to put an astonishing twist on parental guilt and sibling rivalry, on the nature/nurture debate and even the idea of free will.


“We've got 99% the same genes as any other person.
We've got 30% the same as a lettuce. Does that cheer you up at all?”

Bernard thinks he's an only child. At the age of 35, he learns otherwise. Discovering the results of a scientific experiment that left him as one of “a number” of clones, Bernard confronts his father, Salter. As clones reveal themselves identities are challenged, but how will Salter reveal the true events of the past? And more importantly, which Bernard is the original?

Real life father and son, John and Lex Shrapnel, take on the roles of father and son(s) in the play. John’s most recently performed on stage as part of the company in Kenneth Branagh's Macbeth at the Manchester International Festival in 2013, and his recent television appearances include Merlin, Waking The Dead, and New Tricks. He has starred in a number of films including: Gladiator, Notting Hill and 101 Dalmations. Lex’s film and television credits include: Captain America: The First Avenger, Thunderbirds, Midsomer Murders, By Any Means and Minder.

In a bold new design, audiences will be at the heart of the action, seated on stage surrounding the actors, offering them a unique experience of the play.

Check out the 'A Number' pinterest board for more information on the play and the creative team.

Directed by Michael Longhurst

Designed by Tom Scutt




PHOTO: © Nuffield

PORTRAIT: John Shrapnel © Nuffield

PORTRAIT: Lex Shrapnel © Nuffield